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Compare travel insurance for US trips
Explore the land of the free with less worry over your baggage, delays or medical emergencies.
What's in this guide?
- Do I need travel insurance when traveling in the USA?
- What does travel insurance cover in the USA?
- How much does travel insurance in the US cost?
- Find travel insurance for the USA
- How does travel insurance coverage work in the USA?
- How can I get cheap US travel insurance?
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions about USA travel insurance
Whether you’re relaxing on white Hawaiian sand or trekking to the tip of Pike’s Peak, each adventure can include travel delays or hiccups along the way. But travel insurance companies offer a host of coverage to protect you for everything from costly hospital visits to luggage lost on the plane ride.
Do I need travel insurance when traveling in the USA?
Yes, you should consider travel insurance when going to the US. The United States is a popular destination for international travelers and domestic travelers as well. But hotel stays, food or medical expenses can add up quickly if your travel doesn’t go as planned.
Travel insurance can protect you from a range of costs including lost luggage, trip cancellations and medical care. A few hundred dollars up front for your US trip could save you thousands if things go wrong.
Do I need travel insurance if I live in the US?
You can still encounter delays and extra costs even if you’re just heading a few states over. Consider about whether a delay or lost trip reservation could ruin your trip or cost you a lot of money to recover from.
If you’re only driving a few hours away and you’re not relying on other forms of transportation, there’s less risk of third parties interrupting your trip. But consider the majority of domestic flights experience delays, according to a recent report released by the US Department of Transportation. And some employer healthcare plans don’t have a wide network of covered hospitals and doctors outside your state.
What does travel insurance cover in the USA?
When buying protection for US travel, you can expect coverage for:
- Fees for cancellation or lost deposits. You can get trip cancellation and interruption coverage for unforeseen situations like losing your job or a family health emergency that forces you to cancel or shorten a trip. Most US travel insurance policies include these features.
- Luggage delays. If an airline or tour company misplaces your luggage for an extended period of time, you can get reimbursed for buying emergency clothing and toiletries.
- Luggage and belongings if lost or stolen. If your luggage or personal belongings get lost, stolen or damaged, you can be reimbursed for repairing or replacing them. This can include replacing lost or stolen credit cards and travel documents.
- Transportation delays. If your journey gets disrupted for circumstances beyond your control, you can receive a benefit to cover additional meals, transportation and lodging expenses.
- Medical bills. Even a short trip to the doctor can cost a few hundred dollars out of pocket. Having a travel insurance policy can protect you against a range of medical costs including:
- Ambulance transportation
- Medical evacuation or repatriation
- Office visit or hospital costs
- Emergency dental procedures
- Deductibles and copays
- Rental vehicle damage waiver. If your rental is involved in an accident, gets stolen or damaged, this optional waiver can relinquish your responsibility for the cost of the rental car’s repairs.
- Accidental death benefit. Your loved ones may receive a death benefit for serious incidents during your journey.
How much does travel insurance in the US cost?
You can expect your travel insurance to cost between 5 and 10 percent of your total trip cost. However, costs depend on a couple of factors that could skew it close to 10 percent for some trips. Those factors include:
- The total value of the trip
- Length of travel
- Any risky activities like skiing or skydiving you buy coverage for
Running the numbers. Although that extra cost could add hundreds of dollars to your trip, insurance could save you thousands if an emergency happens. For example, the average cost of a three-day hospital stay in the US totals $30,000, says the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. An insurance policy that costs $100 or $200 could save you $28,000 in that case.
If you experience a travel delay, you might pay $150 in extra food and hotel accommodations, not an uncommon situation. That reimbursement could pay for the policy by itself.
Find travel insurance for the USA
How does travel insurance coverage work in the USA?
You can buy travel insurance policies for single trips or annual coverage to the USA. Policies tend to come as packages with basic, standard or comprehensive coverage. However, the exact features within each package varies based on the insurance company. Options to consider:
- Single-trip travel insurance covers one trip up to a maximum time period, such as 180 days.
- Annual travel insurance. If you head to the US or overseas regularly, annual travel insurance can cover your year’s worth of travel. To make this policy worth it, you may need to make two or three overseas trips a year. However, individual trip lengths are capped at 30 to 90 days of coverage.
- Medical-only ensures you have moderate coverage for medical emergencies, including transportation and repatriation with most policies.
- Standard coverage includes moderate limits on medical, trip interruption, cancellations and trip or baggage delays.
- Comprehensive coverage offers high limits with wide coverage included. It may also include other benefits such as a concierge or policies that cover entire families.
How can I get cheap US travel insurance?
The cost of travel insurance for the United States varies based on lots of things like how old you are, what activities you’ll be doing and what level of coverage you choose. But a few steps could save you money on coverage:
- Book refundable travel and tourism. Travel insurance only reimburses you for nonrefundable expenses. So the more refundable tickets you buy, the less coverage you may need. But keep in mind that some items are only refundable up to a certain time period before the event.
- Match coverage to actual trip costs. Buy big-ticket items like your airfare, cruise or major attraction tickets. Then run the numbers for your trip’s cost based on these actual expenses, rather than guessing the trip’s cost.
- Get a group policy. If you’re traveling with your family, you might benefit from a policy that covers your entire group. You may receive a discounted premium per traveler. Plus, if an event happens that affects all travelers, you’ll have an easier time filing a claim.
- Buy basic coverage. Look at options that offer just enough coverage while nixing other benefits you don’t think you’ll use. Medical-only policies may offer the cheapest premium.
Any time you’re traveling to an unfamiliar country, you might benefit from at least basic coverage for medical emergencies. That goes double in the US where extra hotels, food and doctor visits can rack up costs fast. Consider which travel policy can serve your needs best while in the USA.
Frequently asked questions about USA travel insurance
Who can you contact in an emergency?
If you find yourself in an emergency situation in the USA, some helpful contacts include the following:
- National emergency hotline. You can reach nearby emergency personnel like police officers and ambulances by dialing 911 on your phone.
- Your travel insurer. Your travel insurance brand may have a 24/7 helpline for claims and medical emergencies.
- Embassies and consulates. Find the closest embassy or consulate for international services related to your country.
How do I make a claim related to US travel?
Since the claim goes through your travel insurance, you can file a claim for US travel the same way you might file for other countries. You can contact your insurer online or by phone with details of the claim. You may need receipts, itemized medical invoices, police reports or travel delay notifications to prove your situation.
Can I buy travel insurance for America from my travel agent?
Yes, but travel agents can add hefty commissions to the price of the policies they sell. However, you might get a quote with your travel agent to compare policies.
Can I get coverage for pre-existing conditions while in the USA?
Yes, some insurance companies offer waivers or coverage for pre-existing conditions if you buy extra coverage or specialized policies. The exact treatment of pre-existing conditions differs between insurance providers.
Does travel insurance cover sports in the USA?
High-risk sports like skiing or sky-diving may get excluded from standard policies. If you’re participating in sports for competition or high-risk sports for fun, you might find a company that offers coverage as an add-on.
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